Pfizer announced Friday that the easy-to-administer Covid-19 pill was able to reduce the risk of death or hospitalization in high-risk individuals who have been exposed to HIV.
It is now the second antiviral drug, after Merck's, that has shown strong effectiveness in treating Covid when it first appears. It would be a major breakthrough in the fight against global pandemics if it is approved by regulators. Pfizer stated that it will submit its data to FDA "as soon possible".
The pill by Pfizer, also known as PF-7321332, belongs to a group of medicines called protease inhibitors. It works by blocking an enzyme that the virus requires to replicate in human cells. Other viral pathogens like HIV and hepatitis C can be treated with protease inhibitors.
According to the company, the HIV drug slows down the pill's metabolism so that it remains active for longer periods of times at higher levels.
According to the company, its data regarding the drug are based on a midstage study that included 1,219 adults with at least one underlying medical condition as well as a laboratory-confirmed infected within a period of five days. Participants also received a low dose ritonavir (a common combination treatment for HIV).